Friday, 27 April 2012

Einkorn Bread made with an Overnight Sponge

I’m continuing my experiment with Einkorn. This time, I made a basic whole wheat bread using freshly milled Einkorn flour and an overnight sponge. You can also make this bread with regular whole wheat or spelt flour if you prefer.



Einkorn was the first wheat to be cultivated by man over 12,000 years ago. It is starting to make a come back because of its high protein content and the fact that it grows easily on marginal land and in adverse conditions. Einkorn has a creamy color and a light, rich flavor. It doesn’t rise as much as Emmer or Spelt, and the texture is different, but I really like it!




Einkorn Bread made with a Sponge

Makes: 1 Small Loaf

Adapted from: Bread Science by Emily Buehler



  • 187 g (1 2/3 cups) Einkorn flour
  • 140 g (2/3 cup) water (50 to 55 degrees F.)
  • 1/8 tsp instant yeast

Final Dough:

  • 210g (~1 3/4 cups) Einkorn flour (plus more for kneading)
  • 327g Sponge (all of it)
  • 140g (2/3 cup) water (60 to 65 degrees F.)
  • 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 2 tsp salt



Mixing the Sponge:

Mix the sponge 12 to 15 hours before you plan to make the dough. If the temperature is cooler in the house, then use warmer water, if it is warmer in the house, then use cooler water. Final temperature should be about 65 degrees F.

Cover the sponge and let it rest at room temperature for 12 to 15 hours. This is the sponge after 12 hours. It’s ready to be used in the dough.

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Mixing the Dough:

Mix all of the dough ingredients, including the sponge, until it forms a dough.

I used a Danish dough whisk to mix the ingredients, but you can use a wooden spoon or a mixer; but this dough doesn’t really need a mixer.

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Kneading the Dough:

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it is soft and supple. This was a very sticky dough so I let it rest (autolyse) on the counter for about 15 minutes before kneading to help the gluten structure develop


Bulk Fermentation:

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover it with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel.

Let it rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about one hour.

When the dough has doubled in bulk, punch it down, fold it, and let it rise again, covered, until doubled in bulk again, about one hour.

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Shaping and Final Proof:

When the dough is fully risen, shape it into a boule (ball) and place it smooth-side-down in a floured banneton basket or a bowl lined with a towel heavily dusted with flour. Make sure the bowl is large enough to allow for expansion, but small enough that the sides of the container support the loaf.  Cover with plastic or a towel so that the outside of the dough doesn’t dry out.

Let the loaf proof until it is soft and full of gas.  The dough will be ready when you poke it and the indention remains. 

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Scoring the Loaf:

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. (for about an hour) with a pizza stone on the middle rack and a steam pan underneath.

Carefully flip the loaf onto parchment paper and score it.  My loaf stuck to the basket in one place so I had to coax it out of the basket. It got a little bit smashed, but overall looked okay.

I reused the parchment paper. This is the good stuff so you can use it more than once.


Baking the Loaf:

Slid the loaf (on the parchment paper) onto the hot pizza stone. Carefully add a cup of hot water to the steam pan. Spray the inside walls of the oven, using a spray bottle, 3 times at 30-second intervals, then immediately lower the temperature to 450 degrees F. Bake 20-25 minutes until the loaf is browned and makes a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Remove the parchment paper partway through baking to ensure the bottom gets baked through.


Cooling the Loaf:

Cool the loaf completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Slice and enjoy!

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This Einkorn Loaf has a distinct and nutty flavor. Definitely wheat, but different from regular whole wheat. This formula did not include any sweetener, but I think honey might be a nice addition.  Even so, I like it.


Happy Baking!

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